Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's For Dinner?

There are a lot of cookbooks out there, and even a large selection of cookbooks suggesting dinner menus specifically (What's For Dinner?: Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life by Curtis Stone; Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?: A Year of Italian Menus, With More Than 250 Recipes, That Celebrate Family by Lisa Caponigri; Dinner: A Love Story - It All Begins at the Family Table by Jenny Rosenstrach; Dinner Survival: Cooking for the Rushed by Sandi Richard; Dinner At Your Door: Tips and Recipes for Starting a Neighborhood Cooking Co-Op by Alex Davis, Diana Ellis, Andy Remeis, to name but a few).  Sometimes, though, the best thing to have for dinner is breakfast (pancakes are the perfect comfort food after a stressful day!) and, if you have had comfort food too many times this week and need something lighter (or just want something quick and easy to prepare), salads are also a nice option - so we were delighted when the following two cookbooks showed up in the library catalog!

Offers recipes for typical breakfast dishes with an added twist to make them appropriate for dinner, including bacon fried rice, breakfast ravioli, egg and chorizo burritos, and cornmeal pancakes with beer-braised short ribs. [from the library catalog]

A celebration of contrasts in colour, flavour, and texture--an artfully prepared saladis one of the most appealing dishes to eat, engaging all the senses. It is a basic culinary fact but often overlooked: a salad packs the most flavour because the dressing coats every bite. Includes:  A glossary of greens; Foraging for salad; Washing and storage; Growing greens; The salad pantry. [from the library catalog]

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Art of Writing About Art

"Whether you’re into Ocean’s 11-style art heist stories, tales of tortured artists, or fiction that takes its inspiration from works of art and the people who make lives and livings creating them, you’ve no doubt found yourself lost in a book – a written work of art – that is largely about other artistic media."

One good artist deserves another, and so we come to a list of novels written about the art world, art, artists, and everything in between. If you love art - if you have have enjoyed films such as Basquiat, Frida, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Goya, The Rape of Europa, Pollock, Surviving Picasso, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Art of the Steal, and Herb and Dorothy - if you read biographies of artists and check out art books from the catalog - perhaps you'd like to try something fictional but still firmly planted in the art world? We have compiled a list of likely contenders to stimulate your senses from the library catalog.

Do you have a favorite novel which features art?  Let us know in the comments!

The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber [art forgers, extortion]

The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland [Artemisia Gentileschi, 1593-1652 or 1653; painting]

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro [Edgar Degas; art forgers]

Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore [blue in art; humor]

Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara (eBook) [artists; marriage; 1930s]

Theft by Peter Carey [Australia; painting]

The Floating Girl by Sujata Massey [Japan; manga; mystery]

Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins [postmodern art; sculpture]

The Recognitions by William Gaddis [art forgeries]

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin [art auctions, humor]

The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary [painters; psychological fiction]

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Costova [painters; art appreciation]

Asylum by Patrick McGrath [sculpture; psychological fiction]

The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone [Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564; biographical fiction]

The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham [Paul Gauguin, 1848-1903; psychological fiction]

The Book of Evidence by John Banville [art theft; psychological suspense]

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok [artists; young men; New York]

The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie ["the seductions and mysteries of art"]

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (YA) [artists; road trip; coming of age]

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner [women artists; Futurism]

Murder as Fine Art by David Morrell [historical mystery; Thomas De Quincey, 1785-1859]

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier [textile industry; Belgium & France; 15th century]

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut [Abstract Expressionism; Armenian American artists]

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt [painters; family; coming of age]

The Art of Murder by Jose Carlos Somoza [Modern Art; mystery]

I Am Madame X by Gioia Diliberto [John Singer Sargent, 1856-1925; historical fiction]

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan [Paris; 1870-1940; artists' models]

The Sarantine Mosaic (duology) by Guy Gavriel Kay [mosaicists; Byzantine Empire]

Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint [women artists; fantasy fiction]

The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva [art restoration; spy fiction]

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander [archaeological thefts; mystery]

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt [art history; domestic fiction]

Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda [women artists; men/women relations; Paris]

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood [women painters; Toronto; female friendships]

Life Class by Pat Barker [physicians as artists; World War I]

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde [portraits; mystery]

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant [women painters; Florence; 1421-1737]

The Matisse Stories by A.S. Byatt [stories inspired by art]

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson [performance artists; family]

This list compiled from a list in the article "43 Novels Featuring Art" and the "Art & Artists in Fiction" list on Goodreads.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Your Literary Passport: Must Read Books in Translation

There’s an entire world of literature out there if you just look beyond what was written in your native tongue. Major works in other languages are being translated into English all the time, meaning that there’s no time like the present for you to enjoy books from places like Russia, Egypt, Mexico, and other nations around the globe. If you’re looking to get your literary passport stamped, here are [some] destinations to start you off — but, by all means, don’t let these be the only translated books you read.
~Jason Diamond, "50 Works of Fiction in Translation That Every English Speaker Should Read"

When you read a book in translation, you might forget that the original book was written in a different language - if the translation is a good one! Did you know the University of Rochester runs an annual Best Translated Book Award?  Judging a book by the quality of its translation is nothing to sneeze at. Writer Daniel Mendelsohn, in a column in The New York Times, says that "no translation can work without...accuracy...sensitivity to formal considerations...texture...[and] tone." The following list of recommended fiction is heavy on classic novels in translation, but there are plenty of other books out there, from children's books to mysteries for adults, as any keyword search of "translated by" or any subject search using the term "Translations" can show you.

Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Edith Grossman, translator)

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez (Gregory Rabassa, translator)

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy (Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators)

Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust (Lydia Davis, translator)

The Trial, Franz Kafka (audiobook, Breon Mitchell, translator)

The Stranger, Albert Camus (Matthew Ward, translator)

Labyrinths, Jorge Luis Borges (various translators)

The Death of Artemio Cruz, Carlos Fuentes (Alfred MacAdam, translator)

The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende (Magda Bogin, translator)

The Lover, Marguerite Duras (Barbara Bray, translator)

Austerlitz, W. G. Sebald. (Anthea Bell, Translator)

The Land of Green Plums, Herta Müller (Michael Hofmann, translator)

1Q84, Haruki Murakami (Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel, translators)

My Name Is Red, Orhan Pamuk (Erdağ Göknar, translator)

The Nimrod Flipout, Etgar Keret (Miriam Shlesinger  Sondra Silverston, translators)

Day of the Oprichnik, Vladimir Sorokin (translated by Jamey Gambrell)

The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaño (Natasha Wimmer, translator)

The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, Alina Bronsky (Tim Mohr, translator)

Suite Française, Irène Némirovsky (Sandra Smith, translator)

My Struggle: Books One and Two, Karl Ove Knausgård (Don Bartlett, translator)

Act of the Damned, António Lobo Antunes (Richard Zenith, translator)

Satan Tango, László Krasznahorkai (George Szirtes, translator)

Stone Upon Stone, Wieslaw Myliwski (Bill Johnston, translator)

Books about translation

The undeniable reality is that the work becomes the translator’s (while simultaneously and mysteriously somehow remaining the work of the original author) as we transmute it into a second language. Perhaps transmute is the wrong verb; what we do is not an act of magic, like altering base metals into precious ones, but the result of a series of creative decisions and imaginative acts of criticism. In the process of translating, we endeavor  to hear the first version of the work as profoundly and completely as possible, struggling to discover the linguistic charge, the structural rhythms, the subtle implications, the complexities of meaning and suggestion in vocabulary and phrasing, and the ambient, cultural inferences and conclusions these tonalities allow us to extrapolate. This is a kind of reading as deep as any encounter with a literary text can be.
~Edith Grossman, from "Why Translation Matters"

What is it like to be translator?  How does a literary translator do their job?  Here are a couple books from the library catalog that will hopefully illuminate the art of translation to the layman.

Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche

If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents by Gregory Rabassa

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos

Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translation by William H. Gass


Popular translated books - a Goodreads list

The 20 Best Books in Translation You've Never Read

What Do You Look for in Modern Translation?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Recommended by Cory Doctorow!

Looking for books for teens?  If your teen enjoys the fiction of Cory Doctorow, get them to try the books from this list!  NoveList Plus notes that Doctorow, a Canadian blogger interested in copyright reform, writes compelling, thought-provoking novels usually involving technology and humor, set in the present and near-future.  Readalike authors include Connie Willis, Margaret Peterson Haddix,  and Andrew Klavan.  Check in with NoveList Plus for more book recommendations - it's a free eResource with your valid library card!

Planesrunner by Ian McDonald

Impulse by Steven Gould

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Bushman Lives! by Daniel Pinkwater

Immortal Lycanthropes by Hal Johnson

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Welcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner 

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales by Chris Van Allsburg et al.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Scored by Lauren McLaughlin

Going Under by Kathe Koja

Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi

Struts & Frets by Jon Skovron

The Boneshaker by Kate Milford [eBook]

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz       

The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman  [eBook]

Titles suggested by "My favorite young-adult book reviews" by Cory Doctorow.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Books to the Small Screen: TV Shows Based on Literature

The old argument is "Is the book better than the movie?" Now, there are so many TV shows based on books that we can ask "Is the book better than the TV show?" Here are some new and returning TV shows that are based on literature...and some related titles you might enjoy!

New Shows

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Set in the "Marvel Cinematic Universe", this TV show follows the adventures of the agents of Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.  You can read more about S.H.I.E.L.D. in The Marvel Comics Encyclopedia: A Complete Guide to the Characters of the Marvel Universe, edited by Alastair Dougall.


The library catalog features many Dracula titles, inspired and/or related to Bram Stoker's original novel. How about: Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood by Jim Steinmeyer; Dracula In Love: The Private Diary of Mina Harker by Karen Essex; Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Graphic Novel adapted by Gary Reed; or Stoker's Manuscript by Royce Prouty?

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

This series will be based around Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but is set in a "present-day Wonderland". Those interested in Wonderland might want to check out The Alice Behind Wonderland by Simon Winchester; The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created Alice in Wonderland by Jenny Woolf; and All Things Alice: The Wit, Wisdom, and Wonderland of Lewis Carroll by Linda Sunshine.

Sleepy Hollow

Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman are relocated to Sleepy Hollow, New York, circa 2013.  Ichabod must team up with 21st century police to help them catch the Horseman. If you like Washington Irving's story, put him in perspective with The American Fantasy Tradition anthology, or read about America's "first man of letters" in Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving by Andrew Burstein, or find out more about his era with Explorers, Fortunes & Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland edited by Martha Dickinson Shattuck.

Returning Shows

The Carrie Diaries

Based on the young adult novel by Candace Bushnell, a prequel to Sex and the City. Want to know what it used to be like in New York City?  Try The Forbidden Apple: A Century of Sex & Sin in New York City by Kat Long, but though racy it's probably more for the history buffs.


A contemporary update of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, set in the United States. If you love Holmes, you might be interested in Mastermind: How to Think like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova.

Once Upon a Time

A drama series that sets characters from fairy tales in a "real" town in Maine. The characters have forgotten their lives before due to the Evil Queen's curse, and only the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming can break the curse. Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version might give you some helpful backstory; Fractured Fairytales are always fun to revisit; and there are more fairy tale retellings available for kids and adults. Or just check out Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the Queen by Dan Thompson and Corrina Bechko, based on the TV series!

The Vampire Diaries

Based on the original young adult series by L. J. Smith.  Check out Love You to Death: The Unofficial Companion to the Vampire Diaries by Crissy Calhoun [eBook] if you are a fan!

Inspired by the article "The 2013 Fall TV Lineup: Shows Based on Books" from Book Riot.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn's Literary Awards

Nobel Prize

On Thursday, October 9th, it was announced that Alice Munro, “master of the contemporary short story”, had won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature.  She is the 110th Nobel laureate and the thirteenth woman the win the prize - visit the Nobel website to find out more about the Literature prize. You can find many of her books in the library catalog.

Counting Down to the 2013 Man Booker Prize: The Winner!

Eleanor Catton's novel The Luminaries has won this year's Man Booker! Check our older posts to read about the Shortlist and the Longlist, or visit the Man Booker website for more information.

Other Noteworthy Awards

Agatha Awards are "given for materials first published in the United States by a living author during the calendar year, either in hardcover, as a paperback original, or e-published by an e-publishing firm. The Agatha Awards honor the 'traditional mystery'. That is to say, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie as well as others." Check their website for the 2012 winners and nominees.

The winners of science fiction's most prestigious award, the Hugo, were announced on September 1st.

National Book Award finalists will be announced on October 16.

The 2012 Hammett Prize winners were announced on October 2nd. The Hammett Prize is awarded annual for "excellence in field of crime-writing" (adult fiction or narrative non-fiction).

The Crime Writers' Association Dagger Award released their last shortlists in August; the winners will be announced on October 24th. Some of the winners, such as the International Dagger and the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, have already been announced.

The World Fantasy Award winners will be announced during the World Fantasy Convention (10/31-11/3). You can see the nominees on their website.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Paranormal Diversions for All Ages

It's October!  Days are getting shorter, and colder, and SPOOKIER.  In celebration of the magic in the air, we offer a selection of paranormal fiction delights for children, teens, and adults. If you like your fiction a little scary and/or a bit fantastic, these are the books for you!


The Slither Sisters by Charles Gilman

A Gaggle of Goblins by Suzanne Harper

Ghost Town by Phoebe Rivers

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

Gustav Gloom and the People Taker by Adam-Troy Castro


Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

If I Should Die by Amy Plum

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Grown Ups

Scent of Darkness by Margot Berwin

The Water Witch by Juliet Dark [eBook]

Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh

The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson

A Clockwork Heart by  Liesel Schwarz

Zombiellenium - Vol. 1 : Gretchen by Arthur de Pins

Reviver by Seth Patrick

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pink Boots and Bold Spirits: Celebrating Women Who Dared

At the library, we are always getting requests from schoolkids who are researching explorers - usually men like Vasco da Gama, Leif Erikson, Hernando de Soto, Marco Polo, or Ernest Shackleton.   Here at abcreads, we are choosing to take a little time to celebrate their counterparts, female explorers past and present. The following are some titles of derring-do that you won't want to miss!

Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey From NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer by Mireya Mayor

The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China's Most Exotic Animal by Vicki Constantine Croke

To the Heart of the Nile: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa by Pat Shipman

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe by Glynis Ridley

Ada Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic by Jennifer Niven

Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman

They Went Whistling: Women Wayfarers, Warriors, Runaways, and Renegades by Barbara Holland

No Horizon is So Far: Two Women and Their Extraordinary Journey Across Antarctica by Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, with Cheryl Dahle

Sunday, October 6, 2013

eNovellas & eStory Collections: Short Fiction When You're on the Go!

Maybe you just want something quick to read, while you're waiting at the doctor's office, or waiting at the airport for your flight.  Maybe you don't have a lot of time.  Maybe you want to borrow a Kindle from the library, but you are not sure you're going to like eReading, and don't want to commit to a whole book that you might not have the time or inclination to finish.  Whatever your reasons for avoiding reading an eBook, we would like to suggest the burgeoning field of eNovellas, and, our personal favorite, short story collections in eBook format.

The novella as a form has fallen out of favor, but is enjoying a resurgence right now.  They have been around in European literature since the Renaissance, and feature generally "fewer conflicts than a novel, yet more complicated ones than a short story...[they] are often intended to be read at a single sitting" [Wikipedia].  Famous novellas include: Herman Melville's Billy Budd, Sailor; Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea; Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's; and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. We think you may even love the form already without knowing it!

Here at abcreads, we often feel that short stories as a genre have gotten short shrift lately as well, despite their rich and magnificent tradition, which date back to oral storytelling and fables. Early examples include The Canterbury Tales and The Decameron, both of which feature short stories in the "frame" of a larger story. Early short story masters include Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Kate Chopin, Guy de Maupassant, and Anton Chekhov. In the early 1900s, when magazine publishing was flourishing, so did the short story, with magazines like The Strand, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Saturday Evening Post regularly featuring stories. At this time short story writing was lucrative and authors often quickly penned a story for some cash in hand. Some authors published in this era are: F. Scott Fitzgerald; Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (the father of the Japanese short story); Dorothy Parker; and Franz Kafka. The genre continued to be very popular through the '50s and '60s, with its popularity falling off alongside the rise of film and the shrinking of the commercial market for them.

So, check out an eNovella or an eStory collection today!  Maybe you just want to kill some time...but you will be breathing life into a literary tradition, and becoming a link in the chain of literary history, all while still being on the cutting edge of technology!


Shipwreck by Maureen Jennings

The Hangman by Louise Penny

Patricide by Joyce Carol Oates

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon

Darkness Under the Sun by Dean Koontz

Hollyleaf's Story by Erin Hunter

Chaotic by Kelley Armstrong

High Heat by Lee Child

Snatched by Karin Slaughter

Museum of Final Journeys by Anita Desai

The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick

Stupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfeld

Short Stories

Qissat: Short Stories by Palestinian Women

Mad For It: Short Stories on Football's Greatest Rivalries - Part 1, Manchester Utd. v. Liverpool: Seeing Red by Andy Mitten

There is No Long Distance Now: Very Short Stories by Naomi Shihab Nye

One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories edited by Chris Brazier

Agnes Owens: The Complete Short Stories by Agnes Owens

Island Boyz: Short Stories by Graham Salisbury

Midnight Pleasures: Four Short Stories of Otherworldly Passion by Amanda Ashley ... [et al.].

The Jacques Futrelle Megapack: 47 Tales of the Thinking Machine and Others

Dreamsongs, Vol. 1 by George R. R. Martin

Bite by Laurell K. Hamilton ... [et al.].


A list of popular eNovellas from Goodreads

A Brief History of the Short Story in America

In Praise of Short

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Featured Author: Rainbow Rowell

We recently checked out a book by author Rainbow Rowell, whose young adult novel Eleanor & Park has been such a hit. If you like authors like Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, Louise Rennison, Sherman Alexie, and Stephen Chbosky, you might enjoy Rowell's work! Her website provides a pretty succinct biography, but it sums up her writing style pretty accurately:

Rainbow Rowell writes books...about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

We invite you to check out the romantic and amusing fiction of Rainbow Rowell!  So far, her back catalog is pretty small, but definitely worth a look.

For adults:

"Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives. Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now--reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be 'internet security officer,' he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers--not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke. When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories."

For young adults:

Eleanor & Park
"Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try"-- Provided by publisher.

"Feeling cast off when her best friend outgrows their shared love for a favorite celebrity, Cath, a dedicated fan-fiction writer, struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words and worrying about her fragile father."